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After deciding on the particular type of care facility for your child, there are many factors to consider to ensure a good "fit." Below is a list of general questions to ask:
Do their hours of operation coincide with your hours of work? Do they have a late pick up policy and penalty fee schedule?
What is their policy on who drops off or picks up your child? What type of identification do they require before allowing your child to be picked up?
Are they closed on holidays and if not, do they have a higher holiday rate?
Do they have alternate caregivers to substitute when the regular teacher is ill or away on vacation?
Do they have a clear discipline policy? Do they notify you of discipline infractions?
What is their policy on illness and what type of authorization do they need to administer prescription medicines? Where do they keep medication?
Take a good look at the center. Do you see fire extinguishers, multiple exits (in case of fire), smoke detectors, and fire alarms? Do you see sharp corners on toys and furniture? Are books readily accessible by children? Is the outdoor play area fenced in and in good repair? Is the play area soft in case of falls? Are cleaning products kept out of reach and properly locked away?
Do they provide transportation, and if so, what type? If a car or van, are there car seats for every infant and toddler, as well as booster seats for each of the preschoolers?
Do they have a posted activity schedule?
Do they go on field trips, and is the cost extra?
Do the children at the center appear happy and the teachers smiling and enthusiastic? Does the caregiver talk with each child at the child's eye level?
Is there child made art on the walls?
How do they handle naptime? Where do they sleep and are infants properly placed on their backs? What happens when a child refuses to sleep?